Study: Gas prices will be 40% higher than last summer
The federal government is cautioning motorists to prepare for sticker shock at the pump.
This post comes from Ruth Mantell at partner site MarketWatch.
- MSN Autos:Find the best gas prices near you
Retail prices for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline will average $3.86 from April through September, up from $2.76 for the comparable period last year, said the Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Energy. Post continues after video.
The national price for gasoline may average $3.86 a gallon in the driving season, the EIA says.
In some areas, monthly average prices could top the national average by at least 25 cents a gallon.
"The continuing economic recovery tends to boost gasoline and diesel fuel consumption, while the effect of higher retail prices tends to dampen it," according to EIA. "These counterbalancing forces are expected to be prominent features of the summer driving season."
According to AAA's daily fuel-gauge report, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is about $3.79, up about 33% from $2.86 a year earlier.
The average U.S. household's vehicle fueling costs will rise about $825 from last year's level, hitting $3,360 in 2011, the EIA said.
The government also expects refiner acquisition costs of crude oil to average $112.50 a barrel this summer, up about 50% from the prior year.
Meanwhile, wholesale gasoline margins -- the difference between the wholesale price of gas and the refiner acquisition cost of crude -- are forecast to average 53 cents a gallon this summer, up 47% from last year.
The catalyst for the increase, according to EIA, will be "continuing strength in worldwide liquid fuels consumption."
Read more from MarketWatch and MSN Money:
- Gas prices around the world
- Drive smarter and get better gas mileage
- What if gas cost $10 a gallon?
- Crude oil edges toward $108 a barrel
- The 10 best cities for commuters
- Consumers may be too down on jobs
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